Network18 Media & Investments, the holding company for the Network18 Group, has informed the BSE that their board has approved a plan to issue 92,05,650 shares to SAIF Partners on a preferential basis, at price of Rs. 130 each. That amounts to Rs. 1.196 billion, or $25 million at current rates.
Interestingly, IndianTelevision.com had reported yesterday, quoting a company source, that the group has to put in another $25 million as part of its commitment Viacom18, their join venture with Viacom. The payments are supposed to be due in November 2009 ($15 million) and 2010 ($10 million).
In March, Network18 has raised Rs 2 billion from promoter Raghav Bahl-owned RB Holdings by issuing 18.2 million secured optionally fully convertible debentures (SOFCD) at a price of Rs 110 each. We’d mentioned earlier that the investment from Bahl appeared to be a precursor to further fundraising.
Network18 will hold an extraordinary general meeting to approve the preferential alottment. The Network18 board has approved the alottment of up to 25 million shares, and will constitute a committee for the same. SAIF Partners had invested $16 million in HomeShop18, the groups home shopping channel, as a part of a $21 million fundraising last year.
On the BSE, the Network18 stock closed at Rs. 155.20, up 16.56% from a closing price of Rs. 133 yesterday. As recently as May 1st, the share price was at Rs. 85.05.